Vitamins and minerals are involved primarily in the regulation of metabolic processes in the body. Depending on age, gender, health, weight, height, physical activity, physiological needs, a person needs a different amount of these substances. Therefore, there are norms that help prevent vitamin deficiency and its consequences associated with the development of diseases. Preventing vitamin D deficiency is an important public health concern. Among the vitamins valuable for a woman’s health, of course, a special role is played by vitamin D (calciferol), which exists in two forms – D2 and D3, the activation of which occurs in the liver and kidneys.
Varieties of vitamin D – D 2 and D 3
D3 (cholecalciferol) is called “solar” because it is formed in the skin through exposure to ultraviolet light. To do this, children and adults should be in the sun for about 15-30 minutes several times a week. However, intense production of vitamin D occurs during unhealthy hours, from 11:00 to 14:00, when the skin needs protection.
In addition, natural absorption of the vitamin decreases over the years, and people with dark skin absorb it more slowly. Sunscreens and unfavorable ecology, such as air pollution, become negative moments for the perception of beneficial sunlight. Therefore, even in the summer months, not always and not everyone can stock up on cholecalciferol.
D2 (ergocalciferol) enters the body along with the usual food. However, not many animal foods are known to be fortified with vitamin D: fatty fish (herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, halibut), lamb, eggs (yolk), butter, cream, sour cream, hard cheese, beef liver , seafood, cod liver, red caviar, fish oil. In a limited amount, the vitamin is present in plant foods: chanterelle mushrooms, oatmeal, potatoes, oranges, parsley, broccoli, nuts, vegetable oils.
It is important to follow the rules of cooking so that the useful vitamin is not destroyed. It has also been proven that food cannot provide the body with a sufficient dose of D2, since it requires eating too many foods rich in it, some of which also contain cholesterol. In addition, this list contains things that are advised to be used with caution or are not allowed at all for pregnant women and in the first 6 months of lactation.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D was discovered about 100 years ago in the search for foods needed to combat an inadequate supply of calcium and phosphorus to bones and teeth. The benefits of taking fish oil, which contains a large amount of vitamin A, have been proven. However, when this vitamin was neutralized, fish oil retained its properties, which led the researchers to the conclusion that it also contained other vital substances. Subsequently, the discovered vitamin received the name of the fourth letter of the Latin alphabet – D. But fish in sufficient quantities was not available everywhere, and the organization of the industrial production of fish oil took time. Therefore, the research continued. It was soon discovered that the beneficial properties of certain types of food are enhanced by exposure to ultraviolet rays. Further it was possible to prove
The second wave of vitamin D research began in the 1980s. Now, experts first of all name fatty varieties of fish and dairy products, as well as animal by-products as its food sources.
|Food||Vitamin D3 content, IU / 100g|
|Egg yolk||20 ME in 1 pc.|
If you are intolerant to the protein contained in cow’s milk, the source of vitamin D may be dairy products made from goat’s milk. They are especially indicated for women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The benefits of vitamin D, and what is it for
Calciferol is considered a women’s health vitamin. Indeed, it is important for women. After all, its consumption, like other vitamins in general, is much higher than in the body of men. This is due to the characteristics of the female body and its functions: menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause. Therefore, at different periods of life, the need for D3 and D2 may increase. But the main thing is that women need to maintain an adequate amount of calciferol, avoiding its shortage or excess.
Thus, vitamin D is essential because it:
- Responsible for the level in the blood of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which contribute to the preservation and strengthening of musculoskeletal tissue (bones, joints, muscles, teeth).
- It is important for the musculoskeletal system, including correct posture, formed before the age of 20.
- Controls the work of the immune, cardiovascular, endocrine, hormonal, nervous systems. In particular, it supports the level of innate immunity; plays the role of a hormone (D-hormone) that regulates carbohydrate metabolism, that is, it is directly related to weight loss issues. This means that it is needed for proper metabolism and maintaining optimal body weight.
- Regulates over 200 genes.
- Possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, immunomodulatory effectiveness, slows down the aging process, fills with energy.
- Promotes conception, preservation of pregnancy and normal bearing of the fetus, it is extremely necessary during pregnancy, as it affects the formation of the immunity of the fetus and its bone tissue.
- Restores the body of a woman after childbirth, corrects the condition with PMS.
- It has a good effect on vision, concentration and memory.
Lack of vitamin D in a woman’s body
Vitamin D deficiency occurs in 75% of the world’s population, the majority of whom are women and children.
The reasons why this substance is not enough for a woman’s body can be:
- insufficient production of D2 under the influence of the sun;
- winter-spring period of the year (from October to March);
- mono diets, protein diets, unbalanced nutrition, vegetarianism, pregnancy;
- breastfeeding: in the first 6 months of breastfeeding, the level of vitamin D in a woman drops sharply, which provokes a loss of calcium 4 times more than during gestation;
- mature age (after 50 years);
- the presence of diseases of the liver and kidneys, gallbladder, small intestine;
- excess weight;
- lack of physical activity;
- taking antacids (reducing high levels of acidity in the stomach) and cholesterol drugs;
- chronic diseases of the endocrine system, gallbladder, pancreatitis, etc.
Learn More About Vitamin D Deficiency
The consequences of this condition lead to serious problems – the development of various pathologies of organs and systems. Main problems:
- immunity suffers;
- there is a metabolic disorder;
- there may be malfunctions in the work of such organs as the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys, lungs, heart, intestines, stomach, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, etc.;
- possible complications during pregnancy;
- menstrual irregularities may occur;
- changes begin in the bone tissue, which leads to osteomalacia (leaching of minerals from the bones), and then to osteoporosis, which is fraught with fractures and injuries;
- deformation of posture, weakness and pain in the muscles occurs;
- problems with the ovaries and uterus (endometriosis, fibroids, etc.);
- hormonal imbalance occurs: the production of testosterone and estrogen may increase, which leads to an early menopause;
- there is a deterioration in the condition of the skin (vitamin D is involved in the process of renewing skin cells), hair, teeth (caries), manifestations of skin diseases may occur;
- excess weight is gaining;
- there is a feeling of anxiety, insomnia, depression;
- there is chronic fatigue, headaches;
- hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis may appear;
- ARVI and ARI become frequent.
An excess of vitamin D for a woman
During pregnancy or with the onset of menopause, women begin to take vitamin complexes synthesized by D3 in the form of dietary supplements and drugs. However, it is worth knowing that it is fat-soluble and is hardly excreted from the body. Due to prolonged overdose of more than 10,000 IU over many days, vitamin D easily becomes toxic. So its increased level is also very dangerous. Hypersensitivity to this substance can also provoke an excess. Interestingly, the sun is not usually the cause of oversaturation of the body with vitamin D.
There are two stages of the problem of hypervitaminosis. First, the consequences of intoxication are manifestations such as nausea, thirst, headaches, lack of appetite, weight loss, constipation or diarrhea, frequent urge to urinate, dehydration, weakness, fever, cramps, irritability, muscle and joint pain. Then there are deposits of calcium in soft tissues, atherosclerosis may develop. Loss of consciousness and coma are considered severe cases.
It should also be said that the increased content of calciferol is fraught with infertility and the onset of early menopause, frequent colds, arrhythmias, hypertension, and enlarged liver.
Therefore, the dosage of the vitamin should be prescribed by the doctor after receiving the results of the blood test. In case of long-term use, regular testing is necessary.
How do I know my vitamin D levels?
You can get information about how much the body is saturated with vitamin D by doing a blood test. Usually, this laboratory study is carried out if osteoporosis is suspected, during pregnancy, if a woman is very little in the sun, lives in the northern regions, has refused food of animal origin, has chronic diseases or hereditary disorders of the metabolism of this vitamin.
Vitamin D correction
Taking D3 is the prevention of diseases, treatment of pathologies of internal organs, a recipe for well-being and longevity. However, its assimilation directly depends on physical activity, for example, fitness, walking. Interestingly, swimming does not contribute to the production of vitamin D, since water reduces body weight, relieving stress on it. Vitamin D can only be prescribed by a doctor: his recommendations must be strictly followed. The maximum dose for adult women, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women – 4,000 IU per day (100 mg). In this case, women should pay attention to calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E, B6 that improve the absorption of vitamin D, zinc, phosphorus, calcium. That is why a vitamin complex is often prescribed for preventive purposes. A nursing young mother or a postmenopausal woman can drink special complexes.
The combination of vitamins D2 and D3 has the longest effect. Vitamin D2 can accumulate in adipose tissue, forming a valuable reserve for the body. Vitamin D3 is used in metabolic processes faster, providing the current metabolism.
One of the popular dietary supplements is calcium, magnesium, vitamin D , which contains the daily requirement of vitamin D. It is recommended to take 1 tablet 3 times a day with meals for a month. It is convenient to purchase and arrange delivery in Moscow or in other cities of the country on the official Amway website. Taking such complexes or independent vitamin D, you should avoid iron, which impairs its absorption. To achieve a more striking effect and give the body everything it needs, it is necessary to make changes in the diet. In addition, it should be remembered that the absorption of vitamin D is severely impaired by drinking and smoking.
Children and the “sunshine” vitamin
The history of the discovery of vitamin D, which took place about a century ago, was associated precisely with the search for a treatment for childhood rickets. It was found that this disease is a sign of a lack of calciferol. The level of this substance begins to affect the baby even in the womb, then during breastfeeding. Therefore, prevention of calciferol deficiency in pregnant and lactating mothers is so necessary. The deficiency can turn into significant problems that are associated with the formation of the skeletal system and the emergence of the baby’s susceptibility to diseases after birth, which often manifests itself after some time, including in adulthood. There is also a risk of having children with low birth weight. Prematurity, untimely termination of breastfeeding, lack of sun, poor nutrition deprive the baby of the necessary vitamin. But it is necessary not only to increase bone strength, growth, but also overall development: vitamin D interacts with the level of cognitive potential and affects the child’s performance in school.
Vitamin D and men’s health
The life of a man is connected with physical activity, therefore the importance of the vitamin, on which the strength of the musculoskeletal system depends, is quite large. In addition, D3 and calcium, if they are normal, maintain high testosterone levels, which are responsible for male strength, sperm quality, emotional state, musculature, and also reduce the female hormone estrogen. Consequently, a lack of this vitamin raises the risk of feeling tired, male infertility, prostate diseases, loss of muscle mass, obesity, and decreased endurance. An active and healthy lifestyle, sports, sun exposure (although vitamin D3 production also decreases with age), proper nutrition, and taking dietary supplements help men maintain vitamin D.